(Photo: Sarah Connors/Flickr)

Two and a half weeks into the NHL season, there is one player who stands out above all others in the league: Anaheim Ducks right-winger Corey Perry.

Perry leads the league with nine goals through the Ducks’ first eight games, and is tied for second across the NHL with 12 points. He’s the first player in franchise history to score nine goals that quickly, and one of six players to ever record multiple hat tricks in his team’s first seven games of the season.

On a team loaded with offensive weapons, for one player to stand out above the rest is an incredible feat. Six of Perry’s teammates have recorded multiple goals through eight games, and another two have scored a goal each, but Perry has still been able to find the back of the net in five games this season.

Perry’s two hat tricks – one in the season opener against Pittsburgh (a 6-4 loss) and one against Buffalo (a 4-1 win) – are just the sixth and seventh of his 10-year NHL career, proving that he’s starting this season on a level he’s never played before. So far this season, Perry has also been stellar on the Ducks’ power plays, scoring four goals while on the man advantage – the most of any player in the league.

This start is more than just a fluke for the 28-year-old winger. In 10 seasons with Anaheim, he’s scored at least 30 goals in four of those years, including a career-best 50 goals in 2010-11. He also boasted 98 points, including 14 power play goals, 4 shorthanded goals, and 11 game winners that season. Those numbers were good enough to earn him the Hart Memorial Trophy and Rocket Richard Trophy, for most valuable player and most regular-season goals, respectively.

Perry is on track to have a career year this season. Barring any kind of injury, he could continue playing about 19 minutes per game for Anaheim. He scored 43 goals and missed only one game last year, and he can reach those numbers and then some in 2014-15 if he keeps playing the way he is right now.

Even if Perry was to slow down, which he inevitably will, the Ducks are certainly a team that will make some noise this season. Their starting goaltender, Frederik Andersen, has the best statistical start to his career of any NHL goalie – 26-5-0 in his first 31 starts. When he’s on the bench for a rest, backup John Gibson is solid as well, with a career save percentage of .923.

Anaheim also has a balanced offensive attack, with guys like Ryan Getzlaf, new addition Ryan Kesler, and Matt Beleskey making their marks early. Their defensemen have stepped up their play as well, led by Sami Vatanen’s 3 goals and Cam Fowler’s 5 assists and +5 rating.

The Ducks look like a very dangerous team early on, tied with Montreal for the best record in the league, and they look capable of rolling throught the Western Conference this season.

Emily grew up a misplaced New Jersey Devils fan in the southeastern part of Virginia, and moved to West Virginia in 2011 to pursue a journalism degree at WVU. She's always enjoyed going to AHL games in Norfolk, and in the spring of 2012, she fell in love with the sport all over again when the Norfolk Admirals won the Calder Cup championship, and the Devils knocked off their two biggest rivals to make it to the Stanley Cup finals. Now, when she's not working at a WVU club hockey game, she spends the better part of her free time watching games to be around the sport as much as possible.


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